The old adage “right under your nose” certainly rings true. I try to be aware, but sometimes I just can’t see what’s right in front of me! And it takes someone pointing it out to help me see what I’m missing. (However, when that person is my husband, I occasionally have the tendency to resist listening to his wisdom. Yes, I am prideful. Oopsie.)
I have countless examples, but I’ll narrow it down to three.
1. I have become quite sensitive to noises. Even when my kids are making happy noises, I may still feel overstimulated. Same goes for the puppies. They play together in the house and are so happy, but so loud. I recall saying to the kids a time or two, “Go be happy somewhere else!” Of course my kids will also make unhappy noises. And those are especially triggery.
I love listening to music when I’m in the kitchen or doing different tasks throughout the day. I’ve also started listening to scriptures, General Conference talks, audiobooks, podcasts etc., but music is what I mainly listen to. Link to the scriptures and talks here.
One day, my husband Keegan returned from work to a less-than-harmonious home. The kids were having big emotions and fighting. I was overstimulated and on edge. He said hello to everyone and walked to our sound system and turned it off. The simple act of turning off the music made a huge difference. My precious music WAS adding to the noise! It makes sense though, because music has been described as organized noise. It’s beautiful, powerful and moving, but it’s still a type of noise. I didn’t make the connection, but my husband did and I’m very grateful he saw a solution to a problem that I couldn’t see. It’s certainly been helpful since.
2. I love our puppies Libby and Lulu. They have brought a wonderful dynamic into our home that I am forever, or should I say fur-ever, grateful for. One thing I haven’t loved, though, is their love for my bathroom garbage. The puppies mastered opening up the garbage lid and getting out all manner of disgusting things: used q-tips, floss, panty liners, wipes, as well as tissues. Libby actually swallows the tissues, wipes and panty liners. Ew. She’s been known to throw up the panty liners a time or ten. She usually poops out the tissues and wipes. To my knowledge Lulu isn’t quite as gross as Libby.
My solution to this problem was to close the door to my bathroom. Well, Libby can open the door, so there went that solution. I started to lock the door, but it became way too inconvenient so I stopped locking it. It’s crazy how often I open that bathroom door. Honestly, I was consistently frustrated by the whole thing. It was my main grievance of being a pet owner.
A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law and her family came over. We played outside with the dogs. Libby pooped out a wipe but she couldn’t quite get it out, and she panicked. She ran around with it attached. It was hilarious and horrifying to watch. Keegan and I helped extract the culprit (and dry heaving was definitely involved). I complained to my SIL about the whole garbage frustrations and do you know what she said???? “Have you ever considered putting the garbage beneath the bathroom sink?” Um, no. I have never considered that before, but what an ingenious suggestion that truly solves all the problems. Why have I never considered that as a solution? RIGHT UNDER MY NOSE! The dogs cannot open cupboard doors. Problem solved. Boom. I’m grateful for my SIL’s willingness to share her suggestion.
3. I love to read. My parents love/loved to read and so do my siblings. Reading is in my blood. Even though there are many benefits to reading, there is a downside for me. If I’m really into a book, I tend to stay up way past my bedtime to read, like into the wee hours of the morning. Or I sometimes start my day off by reading instead of starting my day off the way I know I should.
I remember reading in bed one morning, and receiving a prompting from the Holy Ghost to put my book down and get out of bed. I was so into my book and I was so close to finishing, that I declined that invitation. Then I felt that nudge again. I could hear my kids in the other room and they were independently getting their breakfast. I heard them playing and creating. They were fine. I committed to finishing the book and I did, ignoring those promptings.
Guess how the rest of our day went? Not so well. I didn’t start my day off right. I didn’t read my scriptures, pray or move my body like I normally do first thing in the morning. And I didn’t connect with my kids like usual. I was grumpy. My kids weren’t into listening to me. I felt behind before I even began. It was a really off day.
Since then, I’ve been able to recognize, with thanks to those nudges, that I shouldn’t put off my morning routine. We all benefit from my routines! An added bonus? One of my friends suggested I use reading as a reward since I get so much joy out of it! I’ve never thought of that solution. So, once I accomplish the things I set out to do, I can reward myself with my beloved reading!
Bonus share: I just remembered it right this very moment. A few years ago, the president (also known as the prophet) of our church challenged us to go on a social media fast for 10 days. I did it. It was hard, but I did it. And I learned that I habitually opened my apps even when that wasn’t my intention. Perhaps my purpose was to check IMDb, one of my favourite apps, but my fingers would automatically touch Facebook. I also learned I had an unhealthy relationship with social media. It was too easy for me to sit and scroll mindlessly, or to subconsciously compare myself to everyone, or feel left out. I was able to recognize that I would use social media to validate myself. The ‘fast’ helped me recognize many things about myself and my patterns. It helped me realize I had more self-control than I thought I had. I wouldn’t have done the social media fast without the invitation.
I’m grateful for those divine nudges, friends, family and leaders who offer simple solutions that I have been blind to. I hope in the future that I’ll be more aware and open to what is right under my nose. And that I’ll be in tune when family and friends may need me to help them find a simple solution.